107 episodes

Think About It engages today's leading thinkers in conversations about powerful ideas and how language can change the world.

Think About It Ulrich C. Baer

    • Books
    • 5.0 • 44 Ratings

Think About It engages today's leading thinkers in conversations about powerful ideas and how language can change the world.

    GREAT BOOKS 37: Edgar Allan Poe, with J. Gerald Kennedy (Louisiana State University)

    GREAT BOOKS 37: Edgar Allan Poe, with J. Gerald Kennedy (Louisiana State University)

    To understand Poe, inventor of the detective story, tales of terror, and progenitor to Hitchcock, Stephen King and much of Netflix's programing, I spoke with J. Gerald Kennedy who's written award-winning books on Poe in American culture. I asked Professor Kennedy about his favorite stories and how to understand Toni Morrison's famous declaration that Poe is key to understanding American writers' use of Black characters in their construction of the white mythology of American culture. 

    • 1 hr 2 min
    GREAT BOOKS 36: Doon Arbus's The Caretaker, with Doon Arbus

    GREAT BOOKS 36: Doon Arbus's The Caretaker, with Doon Arbus

    Something different today: I was lucky to speak with writer Doon Arbus about her debut novel, The Caretaker, published September 2020 by New Directions books. It's a spell-binding, intricate and haunting tale of a world-renowned philosopher's house museum filled with his collection of objects, and the mysterious man who becomes the museum's caretaker. In our conversation, Doon and I discussed the idea that objects carry their own histories with them, how we behave in museums, and whether it's necessary to carefully curate or, perhaps, to completely destroy a biography in order to appreciate an artist's or writer's work. 
    If you're interested, for the audio book the amazing Alan Cummings lends his voice to Doon Arbus's book in the  audio version of The Caretaker.
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    • 51 min
    GREAT BOOKS 35: Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, with Susan Weisser (Adelphi University)

    GREAT BOOKS 35: Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, with Susan Weisser (Adelphi University)

    Charlotte Brontë's 1847 novel Jane Eyre is one of the great love stories of all time, but it's also the story of a woman who speaks her truth even when this means risking everything she wants. Jane, an orphan raised in a cruel family and struggling to survive in a world where poor women have few chances, falls in love with dashing and mysterious Mr. Rochester, the owner of the estate where she finds a job. A secret in his part forces Jane to chose between compromising her integrity or giving up on him, until dramatic circumstances and her courageous choices change her fate. Do we have to give up autonomy and freedom when we fall in love? Jane Eyre provides the cultural script we still follow today, in every rom-com movie, reality dating show and also high-brow novels that explore the vagaries of our hearts. I spoke with Professor Susan Ostrov Weisser, an expert not only on Jane Eyre but also on this cultural script of romance for women, where a young girl's life goal is supposed to become both independent yet also attached to a man. I asked her whether falling in love means giving up one's freedom, how to make sense of the "madwoman in the attic," to whom novelist Jean Rhys famously gave voice in her book, Wide Sargasso Sea, and whether Jane Eyre is really a feminist book. Has the script changed by now? 
    Susan Ostrov Weisser is Professor of English at Adelphi University and the author of: The Glass Slipper: Women and Love Stories Rutgers U. Press (20130; Women and Romance (ed.), New York University Press (2001); A Craving Vacancy: Women and Sexual Love in the British Novel, 1740-1880 (1997); and with co-editor Jennifer Fleischner,  Feminist Nightmares: Women At Odds (1994).
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    TWITTER - @ulibaer 
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    (THINK ABOUT IT PODCAST) - @thinkaboutit.podcast
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    Uli Baer.

    • 1 hr 15 min
    GREAT BOOKS 34: Karl Marx's The Communist Manifesto, with Vivek Chibber (NYU)

    GREAT BOOKS 34: Karl Marx's The Communist Manifesto, with Vivek Chibber (NYU)

    Marx has never left us. In our era of populism, political polarization, and the pandemic, concerns central to Marx such as economic inequality, the consolidation of power in the hands of the few, and the fate of workers are urgently discussed. How should we think about Marx today? I spoke with Professor Vivek Chibber at NYU who has published Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital (Verso, 2013), and Locked in Place: State-Building and Late Industrialization in India (Princeton, 2003).

    • 59 min
    GREAT BOOKS 33: Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray with Nicholas Frankel

    GREAT BOOKS 33: Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray with Nicholas Frankel

    Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray was the novel that shocked, challenged, and inspired Victorian England with its tale of a beautiful young man who trades his soul, captured in a portrait, for eternal youth. I spoke with Professor Nicholas Frankel of Virginia Commonwealth University, whose biography Oscar Wilde: The Unrepentant Years, to see how one of the first true celebrities and his only novel changed the way we live in the world today.

    • 1 hr 13 min
    GREAT BOOK 32: Emily Dickinson: Isolation and Intervention, with Brenda Wineapple

    GREAT BOOK 32: Emily Dickinson: Isolation and Intervention, with Brenda Wineapple

    I spoke with Brenda Wineapple, author of White Heat, about Dickinson's remarkable assuredness, her confidence, and her decision to spend much of her life secluded in her father's home in Amherst, Massachusetts. In this state of being on her own, Dickinson had intense, passionate and transformative relationships, including one with the editor, writer, abolitionist and soldier Thomas Wentworth Higginson. "Are you too preoccupied to say whether my verse is alive?", she asked. He wasn't. 

    • 1 hr 12 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
44 Ratings

44 Ratings

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